- Haben Girma is Harvard Law School's first deaf-blind graduate
- She advocates for the rights of people with disabilities
- She was born in the US after her family moved there from Eritrea
28-year-old Haben Girma is no ordinary woman. Despite being born deaf and blind, she has overcome her disabilities to become Harvard Law School's first deaf-blind graduate.
Her extraordinary story has become an inspiration for many people with disabilities, as she has proven that disability is not inability.
She is a practicing attorney who focuses on advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.
Girma was in 1988 to an Ethiopian father and Eritrean mother in California. She effectively made use of opportunities made available by the Americans with Disabilities Act ((ADA) and excelled at her studies.
In an interview, she acknowledged that she may not have had the same opportunities back in Africa: “For my grandmother back in Africa, my success in law school seemed like magic."
Girma soon gained recognition and her profile rose as she took on more advocacy cases and speaking roles.
She made introductory remarks at 25th Anniversary of the ADA at the White House in 2015, which then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden officiated.
She was made a White House Champion of Change in 2015, BBC Women of Africa Hero and named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
She says she is passionate about making a difference: “I’m working on making the world a better place. There are many ways for us to do this: teaching organizations that disability can also be a valuable asset, helping increase access to Braille, etc.”
Watch more about Girma in the video below.